Kitty Time TravelHoria Hulea / Humor / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
Kitty time travel
By Horia Hulea
Copyright 2015 Horia Hulea
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead is coincidental.
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"A stick is the best tool you will ever get!"
The speaker prepares to land ahead a big dramatic pause, so make sure you watch your heads. After the thoughtful break passes, you can raise your heads back up and look at the conclusion shock wave.
"It is … The Best Tool Ever!"
Amazed at the accurate description that sprang from his imagination about the ultimate tool, the speaker feels the need to quickly follow up.
"You can hit heads with a stick. Boing! You can reach stuff with a stick. Boing again! You can shoo noisy furries with a stick. Shoo, noisy furries! Shoo, shoo! Like that! You see?" Dramatic swings of the speaker's arms accompany the shoo to prove the point.
"You can hit big uglies and small uglies and … and big, toothy uglies with a stick. Bang, ugly furry! Bang, bang! See?" He turns around to see if everyone has a good angle on the bang action.
"You can lean on a stick! Like this, you see? This side up, that side down, and then you put your elbow over here!"
A genuine "Whoaaa!" raises from the enraptured audience.
"You can scratch where you can't reach with a stick! Not only that, but if you hit two sticks together, you can make noises!"
The big dramatic pause settles again before the speaker concludes:
"The stick is the best tool ever!"
Didn't he say that already?
"The stick … and a rock!"
These heavy words of wisdom came from the mouth of Mog, son of Mog, who walks around in a show-and-tell meeting holding a stick in one hand and a rock in the other. However, don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that this elaborate presentation was as intelligible and eloquent as I put it on paper.
Because it wasn't.
The words are ingeniously simplified to growls and grunts that make the actual comprehensive vocabulary of a usual caveman. Because Mog is indeed a caveman as genuine as a caveman can be.
Mog, in case you are wondering, was named after his predecessor, and since the dirty humans hadn't yet invented counting or roman numerals, he wasn't Mog XV, or Mog the second. Instead, he was Mog, son of Mog, who in turn was son of another Mog, making our Mog the grandson of Mog—who, in turn, was a grandson of a previous Mog, and so on and so forth.
However, Mog never encountered his grandpa, because his skull got crashed by Trogg, son of Trogg, from the tribe across the river (it seems the noble peaceful savages are present only in modern anthropological studies, and not in actual historical times).
The rain outside the cave seems to be in a never-ending pour while Mog, son of Mog, explained the miracle of the stick. Good thing, this rain: it makes you take a break from hunting and sends you into a cave to keep your hair dry. And it makes you think of stuff. Makes you share wisdom with the other great minds. It gives you a sense of community and purpose. Pondering the life of a caveman in relation to rain sometimes makes me wonder: was it rain or fire that started the human path to thought, literature, and civilization?
Inside the cave, captivated by the tremendous knowhow of their leader, the entire tribe of Mog is sitting in a circle, nodding deeply to his words—that, and also gnawing at some bones which little Mog (son of our Mog) peed all over and made them salty and tasty. You can't watch a presentation on stick use without a little snacking.
As the tribe is enjoying their leisure time together, from one side of the cave entrance (we can't tell which side since the cavemen haven't yet discovered notions like "left" and "right"), some cat simply happens to walk by.
Just like that.
With no meows, no ta-dum, or other sound cue introduction, this fine exhibit of the feline family simply strolls inside and then sits at the cave entrance looking absentmindedly somewhere undefined, like all normal cats do when they are not doing anything interesting. However, what would strike anyone about this stupid cat is the fact that it wants to look like a normal one. Undoubtedly, it looks like a fat cat with an idiot look stuck on its big head. But, to the trained eye, that head is way too big for the size to be blamed on fluffiness alone.
"Now, now!" the cat lovers will wag their finger at me. "Just because the cat is fat and has an idiot look, that doesn't mean it is stupid."
And they will be right.
At this point in time, the cat is smarter than Mog, his son, or any other member of his tribe. In fact, the cat is smarter than Mog and his tribe put together. But, for reasons to be revealed later in the story, the cat is definitely stupid.
As the fur ball is caught up in contemplating what passes as primitive art on the cave walls, ten heads that never had a haircut or experienced one drop of shampoo since birth start turning and tilting, one caveman at a time. One by one, they drop their happy scratching and flea picking and feel their explorer instincts popping at the sight of the oddity.
But not for long, because very soon ten big smiles show ten mouths full of an assortment of yellow and brown teeth. And ten pair of eyes are glinting tiny tingles of curiosity!
What can possibly go through their heads to make those splendid grins so big?
Are these bright human ancestors thinking:
"Why is there a domesticated cat walking thirty-thousand years before the humans actually domesticated the cats?"
"What is this cat doing on this continent at a time when it hasn't even been introduced here?"
"Does this animal make sense in our current world view frame?"
Actually, none of the cavemen are thinking any of the above. I'm sorry to ruin your good impression of the early hominids, but it's not curiosity that tingles in those eyes … but hunger.
As for the cat … it seems to have no sense of danger at all. Doesn't it know that swinging your tail back and forth under the noses of ten dirty hungries is a life-threatening move? Especially when they know how to use a stick! And a rock!
But honestly, I don't think the cat knows anything. Because the cat doesn't look that smart anymore. It looks more like the lazy, stupid companions that the old deaf ladies keep around their house to make themselves feel useful (the old ladies, not the cats).
However, regardless of how stupid or smart the cat appears, in the eyes of Mog's tribe, if something is fat, then that something surely must be yummy.
And this is how ten pairs of hungry eyes, accompanied by a chorus of hungry bellies, are stuck to a lazy bouncing tail thinking of ten ways to prepare lunch. And as the cat stops from bouncing the tail with a "Meow?" and a tilt of the head, ten starving ancestors of the European population jump at a signal and chase the risk-taking kitty.
And chase, chase, chase.
And jump, jump, jump.
Then some zigzagging behind a line of bushes, followed by some more zigzagging on the same line of bushes, all with the tribe of incompetent hunter-gatherers running aimlessly, followed by little Mog roaring fiercely for being left behind.
After one more acrobatic number between their legs, the cat finishes with a climb in the nearest tree
up, up, up to the highest branch! From its perch, it watches the sorry pack of stinking apex predators putting a comedic show of ten dirty, hungry, growling idiots trying to climb up while pulling each other down competitively from their future lunch-to-be.
"OMG! Humanz is soo stoopid," says the cat.
Still, a cat speaking in articulated language still doesn't puzzle the brilliant and intelligent "humanz." Because in a way, it makes perfect sense: if something out of the ordinary doesn't surprise you to begin with, then something even more out of the ordinary will definitely leave you in the same blank place.
One hour has passed since the encounter, and ten hungry morons, all beaten and muddy (surprisingly, more muddy then before) are hanging in the cave, scratching and mumbling, with little Mog absorbed completely in gnawing the salty bones. Little Mog is so full of energy and ideas! He definitely has his father's smarts.
On the same branch from the top of the tree, our cat is going about his business talking with himself, since talking with someone else would require linguistic intelligence on the part of that someone else.
Log entry: "Today I haz encountered humanz. They is smelly and stoopid. Very, very improbubble for humanz to cause ekstinkshun."
Proud to have written his first log with such detailed information on the first live encounter with the humanoids, the kitty looked around making sure he was doing every step by the book, as he had been taught.
"Let's see, let's see … fireflies: done, write log: done, pebble in the ground: done! I haz to jump ten-thousand yearz again."
Puff! In a flash of light, the cat vanishes from the tree in a wondrous halo.
Pity the tribe of humans were too busy picking each other's fleas to witness our furry time traveler. But who could blame them? After all, the fleas were a delicious source of nutrients, when other sources happen to sit too high on a branch. If only they would have bothered to look up and gasp with wonder at the bright halo that illuminated the sky.
Ok, maybe not a full-wonder gasp, but at least a peek—a little, squinty, one-eyed peek.
Picking fleas proved beyond doubt far more important.
And so it happened that the first encounter with an intelligent species left no trace in human history. Nothing remained of this event in the collective memory. No paintings on a cave wall with a talking kitty, no bone-sculpted statues of cats with big heads, no signs and no proofs to tell the future that once upon a time, in the long distant past, some strange things had happened that nobody was able to explain.